Resort politics has once again taken centre-stage in the state of Karnataka amid allegations of poaching being traded by both the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition and the Opposition BJP.After the BJP flew its 104 MLAs to Delhi and cooped them up in a resort in Gurugram, the Congress on Friday, 18 January, shifted its lawmakers to the all-too-familiar Eagleton Resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru.Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah said his party was shifting its MLAs to a resort to “escape” from the BJP’s “onslaught”.This came on a day when four dissidents skipped the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting in Bengaluru that was called as a show of strength against an alleged bid by the BJP to dislodge the HD Kumaraswamy government.Two Independent MLAs – R Shankar and H Nagesh – had withdrawn their support to the JD(S)-Congress coalitionThe BJP MLAs along with the Independents account for 106 seatsThe magic number to form the government in Karnataka is 113 seats(The Quint will no longer be on WhatsApp, owing to changes in its policies regarding news publishers. You can now get the latest news updates on our Telegram channel. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram.)R Shankar and H Nagesh withdrew their support for Karnataka’s JD(S)-Congress coalition government on Tuesday, 15 January, after having been incommunicado for two days.According to TNM, the duo wrote letters addressed to the Governor of Karnataka, announcing their withdrawal."I would like to bring to your kind attention that I am withdrawing my support extended to the coalition government of Karnataka headed by Congress and JDS parties with immediate effect. Requesting you to take necessary action," read the letters.The resignations come days after Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar confirmed that three Congress MLAs were camped in a hotel in Mumbai and were speaking to BJP leaders. The admission had set off speculation that BJP was planning to upstage the coalition government in the state.R Shankar belongs to the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Paksha (KPJP). He won from Ranebennur after defeating former Speaker of Karnataka Legislative Assembly – KB Koliwad of the Congress, reported TNM.During the no-confidence motion in May 2018, Shankar reportedly kept switching loyalties between the Congress and the BJP. Congress strategist DK Shivakumar finally managed to win him on to their side and Shankar was sworn in as Minister of Forest and Environment, reported TNM. Subsequently, in December 2018, he was removed.H Nagesh, on the other hand, was elected from Mulbagal in Kolar in the State Assembly elections, reported TNM. He had contested as an independent candidate after he lost out of favour of the local Congress leadership. However, he emerged victorious after the Congress candidate from the seat was disqualified.Moments before H Nagesh and R Shankar – withdrew support to the Congress-JD(S) coalition, HD Deve Gowda had asserted that there was no threat to the government headed by his son HD Kumaraswamy."It is not in anybody's hands, including the media. However much you cry hoarse, nothing will happen because it is in the hands of God. When a party (JDS) of 38 MLAs gets the blessings of a national party (Congress), it is all the wish of God," Gowda said.Gowda said it was an "illusion" to think that the Congress-JD(S) government was in trouble and that the media as well as state BJP president BS Yeddyurappa were in "confusion".The JD(S) supremo further asserted:"You are under some confusion (about the stability of the government) as also is Yeddyurappa, but I have no such confusion. Nobody can destabilise the government because it is the wish of God."Soon after the two Independent MLAs withdrew their support from the JD(S)-Congress coalition in Karnataka, a seemingly unfazed state Chief Minister said he was “relaxed”.“If two MLAs withdraw their support, what will be the numbers? I’m totally relaxed. I know my strength. I am enjoying (watching) whatever is going on in the media in the past week.”HD KumaraswamyCommenting on the withdrawal of support by the Independents, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara said that the government was stable.“We have been saying that BJP is luring our MLAs through money and power but their attempts to destabilise the government will fail. Our government is stable,” reported ANI.K’taka: Independent MLAs H Nagesh and R Shankar Withdraw SupportSoon after the news of the two MLAs withdrawing support broke, Congress leader Siddaramaiah said that BJP’s ploy of ‘Operation Kamala’ was nothing new."Chowkidar narendra modi, you call yourself the country's chowkidaar. Now , you have become chowkidar guarding the door of MLAs in hotel rooms...Che!" Siddaramaiah also tweeted in Kannada.Expressing his approval of Nagesh and Shankar’s decision, BJP's Ram Shinde said that he feels “Operation Lotus” will be successful.“They must have thought that they should join BJP, (the party) that received the mandate instead of those who formed unnatural alliance. I’m getting a feeling that Operation Lotus will be successful in the coming days.”Ram ShindeOn Sunday, 13 January, Karnataka Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar said that the BJP's 'Operation Lotus' to topple the state's coalition government was for real and that three Congress MLAs were camping in a Mumbai hotel in the "company of some BJP leaders.”“Horse-trading is going on in the state. Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai in a hotel with some BJP MLAs and leaders. We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them,” he had said.Shivakumar had also accused CM Kumaraswamy of being “lenient” towards the BJP."Our chief minister is a bit lenient towards the BJP. By 'lenient', I mean he is not exposing the facts he knows. All the MLAs have conveyed to the chief minister about the ongoing conspiracies. They have also told Siddaramaiah about it.”Subsequently, Karnataka's ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition and Opposition BJP on Monday, 14 January, had traded allegations of making attempts to poach their respective MLAs in a fresh political war just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.While the Congress pointed out that five of its lawmakers were “missing”, the BJP flew its 104 MLAs to a resort in Gurugram. Karnataka BJP State Chief BS Yeddyurappa had also rubbished reports that his party was attempting 'Operation Lotus' to topple the state government.Earlier, citing sources, TNM had said that the Karnataka Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar was on his way to Mumbai, where three Congress MLAs have been taken by the BJP.However, TNM subsequently put out an update saying that Shivakumar “is going to Aurangabad in Maharashtra to attend a Water Ministry meeting.”Meanwhile, Congress sources have reportedly told News18 that the party is in touch with 6 BJP MLAs who are currently at a hotel in Gurugram.AICC core members will also be meeting in New Delhi to discuss the situation in Karnataka.Addressing the media outside Bengaluru’s Kumarakrupa guest house, HD Kumaraswamy, reportedly said that if the media has decided what is to happen to his government, then they should not ask him about it.“Our media friends have been saying this government will fall for seven months. Other day I saw TV and they’ve said the government will fall during Sankranti. If you have decided why are you asking me about this ? You have only made the claims.” HD KumaraswamyHe also stated that BJP will not be able to bring the numbers they have down.“My government is formed with the Congress. I have not taken any responsibility for the two independents. Have we lost majority? I have information on who is planning to quit and who is not. I know what numbers we have. BJP will not be able to bring it down.”Karnataka Ministers KJ George and Zameer Ahmed Khan have also reached Kumarakrupa guest house in Bengaluru where Congress' KC Venugopal is lodged.BJP’s National General Secretary P Muralidhar Rao took to Twitter to allege that Congress is trying to shift the blame on BJP.Addressing the media, Congress' KL George said "There is no need for protecting Congress' MLAs" and that they are all together.“We discussed about parliamentary elections meeting. It is a fact that all top leaders are here for the parliamentary elections. I don’t see any political crisis. There is no need for our MLAs to be in resort. There is no need for protecting Cong MLAs. As of today, all our Cong MLAs are together.”KL GeorgeSpeaking to ANI, following his withdrawal of support to the JD(S)-Congress government, H Nagesh alleged that there is “no understanding among coalition partners”, which is why he has decided “to go with BJP”.“My support to coalition government was in order to provide good and stable government which utterly failed. There’s is no understanding among coalition partners. So, I decided to go with BJP to install stable govt and see that government performs better than the coalition.”H NageshExplaining his reason for withdrawal of support, R Shankar said “government should be efficient.”“Today is Makar Sankranti, on this day we want a change in the government. The govt should be efficient, so I am withdrawing my support today.”R ShankarA JD(S) insider, reportedly, told TNM that the party is in touch with around eight BJP leaders as a counter to the BJP's poaching operation. “Our party leaders have been approached by BJP. They have been offered plum posts and huge amounts of money to vote in favour of the BJP. But our leaders have refused. If they can stoop to such levels even we can. We have also been in touch with BJP leaders who are willing to offer their support.” JD(S) sourceMeanwhile, the BJP claims to have the support of 7 Congress MLAs who have been lodged at the Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai, reported TNM.A BJP source claimed that Amit Shah had instructed Yeddyurappa to gather 20 MLAs.“There are only a handful of leaders now. When Yeddyurappa approached Amit Shah with the idea, he was instructed to gather 20 MLAs. Amit Shah said the party would not support the operation otherwise. This may seem like a big number but bringing down a government is not easy and Amit Shah wants bargaining chips.”BJP source, as reported by TNMThe BJP source also told PTI that the party's leadership may also hold talks with JD(S) and support the party from outside.“BJP is willing to form a coalition with JDS if Deve Gowda refrains from indulging in dynasty politics. JD(S) does not want Yeddyurappa to become the CM. That’s why Amit Shah wants 20 MLAs in order to bargain for a better deal if need be. Going for a trust vote and forming a government is not so easy.”BJP source, as reported by TNMAccording to TNM, he added: “There will be bypolls and if the BJP does not win there the whole operation would end up failing.”Amid speculations of BJP attempting to poach Karnataka Congress MLAs in Mumbai, Congress’ Zameer Ahmed Khan has expressed confidence in the party’s strength. He has also asserted that Congress MLAs were, in fact, holidaying in Mumbai and will be back on Wednesday.“Our MLAs went to Mumbai for holidays, they’ll be back by tomorrow. As per media, the number (of MLAs withdrawing support) is increasing but according to us, it’s decreasing. For us, it has come down to two from 15-16. Akalmand ko ishaara kaafi hai (indication is enough for the clever).”Zameer Ahmed KhanJD(S) President and former Chief Minister of Karnataka, HD Deve Gowda said, “The two MLAs (who withdrew support from Karnataka Govt) are not affiliated with any party. They are independents. There is no need to hype it up so much. It is all a media hype.”Reiterating his stand, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said, “No one (Congress MLAs) will be shifted to any resort. There is no necessity for that. I am relaxed, you (media) are taking tension.”When asked about reports of the CM being in touch with BJP MLAs, he said: “Let’s see what happens in the coming days.”“The MLAs may not be reachable for you (media) but they are reachable for me. I am in touch with everyone. I am keeping track of every development. Who all require protection and who we should be cautious about, I am aware. I know what steps have to be taken, and I will take them.”HD Kumaraswamy, Karnataka Chief MinisterThe CM denied reports that he had a confrontation with Congress’ Karnataka in-charge KC Venugopal.“He is the responsible person, assigned as the in-charge secretary of the Congress. He is here. I’m not irresponsible. Whatever the situations is, I have explained it to him.”“It is not necessary for go for operation (poaching) on BJP MLAs. My numbers are sufficient. I have enough numbers with me. Why should I go for operation (poaching) on BJP MLAs?”A Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting has been called on 18 January in Bengaluru.Speaking to the media a day after two Independent MLAs withdrew support to the Karnataka government, state Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “He is an independent MLA so he can go where ever. But as far as our own MLAs are concerned, they are with us. This is an effort to destabilise the government.”Rao further alleged that the Centre was trying every trick to “bring this government down.”Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “BJP is shameless. They don't believe in the democracy or the constitution. Time and again they are trying to destabilise the government. People have not given them mandate. They have been asked to sit in the Opposition.”He further said that the BJP has been trying to destabilise the government for the for the past six months.“Even though he is 76 years old, BS Yeddyurappa still doesn't have any wisdom. They are offering crores to our MLAs,” he added.BS Yeddyurappa is holding meeting with BJP legislators at the ITC Hotel in Gurugram.Commenting on whether BJP is trying to destabilise the government in Karnataka, State’s Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara on Wednesday said that a failed alliance between Congress and JDS will send a message.“I see a bigger scheme. Our oath was attended by most non-BJP friends and was a kind of mahagathbandhan. If Congress-JDS are unsuccessful here, message will be that bigger alliance will fail. Maybe they (BJP) were trying that,” Parameshwara said, reported ANI.Putting an end to speculations about horse trading, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that all their MLAs of the Congress-JDS coalition were safe.This is a bid to stir publicity and give way to panic, Kharge said, adding that the Congress-JD(S) combine is very strong and will sustain this attempt by BJP to destabilise the state government.Two days after two lawmakers of the Congress went missing, NDTV reported that, the leaders were back in the party.Bhima Naik, Hagaribommanahalli MLA, surfaced outside the guesthouse where MLAs of the ruling alliance are set to discuss the turbulence due to reports of alleged poaching, reported NDTV. Another lawmaker was also reportedly back in touch with the party.A group of Youth Congress workers protested outside a resort in Haryana on Wednesday, 16 January, where BJP's Karnataka MLAs have been camping in an "effort to thwart any poaching attempt" by the JD(S)-Congress ruling coalition.Around 20 Youth Congress workers led by party's Haryana Pradesh Congress General Secretary Pradeep Singh raised slogans against the NDA government outside the five-star ITC Grand Bharat resort located on the outskirts of Gurgaon.The protesters alleged that the BJP was "disrespecting the Constitution and murdering democracy" in the country.The Congress has slammed the BJP for its "brazen attempt" to destabilise the party's coalition government with JDS in Karnataka."The entire confusion has been created by the BJP. Was that really required? They did it brazenly throwing morality and ethics to the wind. It is shameful and disgusting," Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao said.A political crisis is brewing in the state, where two Independent MLAs withdrew support on Tuesday to the seven-month-old ministry amid trading of poaching charges by the ruling coalition and BJP.Youth Congress workers protest outside BJP office in Bengaluru over alleged attempts by BJP to poach Congress MLAs, reported ANI.Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar clarified that except one or two, all the MLAs are in touch with us, they are going to attend Congress Legislative Party meeting. You'll know the strength of the government, not even a single MLA is going to resign.The Congress has called a meeting of its Karnataka legislature party on 18 January amid efforts to keep its flock together as it accused the BJP of indulging in horse-trading to destabilise the state government.Asserting that the Congress MLAs were "intact," the party leaders dismissed reports claiming that some legislator were ready to quit and said that there was no threat to H D Kumaraswamy-led government."Congress Legislature Party meeting presided by CLP leader Siddaramaiah is scheduled for 3:30 pm on 18 January at the Conference Hall of Vidhana Soudha (state secretariat)," Siddaramaiah's office said in a statement on Wednesday.Hagaribommanahalli MLA Bheema Naik on Wednesday quashed all speculation that he was ready to defect to the BJP.Bheema Naik claims his phone was switched off on Tuesday, 15 January, leading to rumours that the Congress MLA had gone to the hotel in Mumbai along with three other disgruntled leaders.Naik told TNM, “Just because my phone was switched off for one day does not mean I went and joined the BJP. I have two phone numbers and I was in touch with the leaders yesterday.”YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy has welcomed TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao's efforts to form a non-BJP, non Congress Federal Front, saying it was necessary for regional parties to unite to highlight the 'injustice' done to them.Reddy was talking at a joint press conference with Rao's son and Telangana Rashtriya Samithi working President K T Rama Rao on Wednesday after initial talks were held between the two parties."We welcome the initiative. In order to protect the rights of the states, there is a necessity to increase the number (of MPs from regional parties in Parliament) and for regional parties to unite.“The proposed national platform mooted by KCR, where all states (regional parties) can come forward with substantial number of MPs, can highlight the injustice being done to the states.”Jaganmohan Reddy, YSR Congress Chief“For further discussions, KCR will come and meet me at a later stage. We will discuss at length within our party on how to take forward this in future," Reddy, the leader of the opposition in the Andhra Pradesh assembly, said.The BJP claimed that the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka has lost majority and that the ruling coalition is on the verge of "collapse" due to its "internal contradictions".Its spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao, on Wednesday, also accused the ruling coalition of trying to poach the state's BJP MLAs, who have been staying in a resort near the national capital, and said its "desperate attempt" to shore up its decreasing numbers will come to a nought.Talking to ANI, JDS MLA KM Shivalinge Gowda confirmed that efforts to poach MLAs have been made.“One person from JDS has been offered Rs 60 crore and a minister post by former Chief Minister and BJP leader Jagadish Shettar. He refused the offer and informed HD Kumaraswamy,” Gowda said.Former Karnataka CM and Congress leader Siddaramaiah has directed MLAs to attend Congress Legislature Meet (CLP) to be held on 18 January.Siddaramaiah has warned that anti-defection law will be used against those who fail to attend meeting and it'll be assumed that member himself has decided to leave primary membership of party, reported ANI.Congress' state minister DK Shivkumar, on Wednesday said that the Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka is stable and that it is the BJP which is trying to cause chaos."The Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka is stable and will be stable. It is just that my BJP friends are trying to cause chaos. They don't want stability and don't want to respect the mandate of the people," Shivkumar told ANI.BJP leader and former chief minister of Karnataka, BS Yeddyurappa, on Thursday said that his party is not indulging in any poaching. He said that it is in fact, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who is offering money and ministerial posts to MLAs.“I’d like to question Congress about the alleged ‘operation kamala.’ They are the ones who have claimed to be in touch with 12 BJP MLAs. The Chief Minister had offered a ministerial post and money to one of our MLAs, which we have already exposed. Congress and JD(S) are the ones involved in horse trading, not us. We have been preparing for the upcoming elections, everything else is a rumour.”BS YeddyurappaAmid reports of Congress planning protests in relation to ‘Operation Kamal,’ Congress workers tried to lay siege to BJP state President BS Yeddyurappa's residence in Shivamogga, local news channel NEWS9 reported. According to media reports, the Congress workers even indulged in a war of words with the police.Congress leader BK Hariprasad, on Thursday said that the Karnataka government is a very strong government and that this is the BJP's tactic to wade national attention off the Rafale deal. He said that neither any Congress nor JD(S) MLA is willing to side with the BJP. “Just the way BJP leaders are quitting the party to join other parties, the same way their MLAs want to be a part of the Cong-JD(S) alliance.”BK Hariprasad, Congress MP“They are trying to divert the attention of the people and will not succeed,” he said.When asked that there is no smoke without fire, Hariprasad said that the 'smoke' here is the Rs 30 crore that they (BJP) got out of the Rafale deal.“All our MLA’s are intact.”Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, on Thursday said that he has never said that BJP is trying to influence MLAs. He said that he had seen media report of something happening in the state on 15 January. However, he said that nothing happened.Further, he said that there were allegations that his government is trying to make BJP leaders resign. I’m surprised by this. They are the one indulging in these acts. You have seen the visuals of who some BJP were leaders were spotted with in Mumbai and Delhi. You also know who has taken the lead and getting these works done. HD Kumaraswamy, Chief Minister, KarnatakaCongress workers staged protests on the streets of Bengaluru, alleging horse trading of MLAs by the BJP.Congress MLA Nagendra, who was one of the disgruntled MLAs has said that that he will not be able to attend the Congress Legislative Party meeting on Friday.Nagendra has cited his court cases as a reason for not making it.Former Karnataka Chief Minister & Congress leader Siddaramaiah said the BJP has no right to talk about the Congress. “They have failed to work as Opposition in the state,” ANI quoted Siddaramaiah as saying.Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundurao took to Twitter on Thursday, 17 January and welcomed the BJP MLAs who have been staying at a luxury resort in Gurugram for the past three-days.According to PTI, the BJP MLAs will take a call on returning to the state after the Congress Legislature Party meeting on Friday.Gundurao said, “We extend a hearty welcome to all Karnataka BJP MLAs who are returning home after an extended holiday at a luxury resort near Delhi. Now that they are sufficiently rejuvenated let us hope they will attend to the work of their constituencies which they have neglected for long.”Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting, presided by Siddaramaiah, will be held at 3:30 pm at the conference hall of Vidhana Soudha.In a notice issued to Congress MLAs, Siddaramaiah warned that absence of MLAs at Friday's meeting would be viewed "seriously"."I would like to bring to your notice that your absence will be viewed seriously and it will be considered that you have voluntarily decided to leave the primary membership of the Indian National Congress," he said and added that action would be initiated under the Anti-Defection Law .Senior Congress leaders in Karnataka asserted on Friday that there was no threat to the coalition government in the southern state, while hitting out at the BJP for making "futile attempts" to destabilise it, saying the saffron party's conspiracy had been "exposed"."All are in contact, you cannot say that any one person is not in contact...you (media) had listed out the names of those who may switch from the party. Most of them have come, the others will also come," Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said.Talking at the Congress Legislature Party Meet, senior leader Siddaramaiah said “BJP must lose. They are not capable of leading the nation. PM Narendra Modi is the best liar I have met throughout my political life.”“He has not fulfilled any promises made during the previous elections. Now the BJP is trying to turn lies into truth,” he said.BJP was not able prove their majority on the floor, yet they tried everything to destabilise the current government, charged current Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara.“They will never be able to break this alliance,” he said.A total of 74 out of 79 MLAs arrived for the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting in Bengaluru. Four Congress MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi, Umesh Jadhav, Mahesh Kumatalli and B Nagendra skip the meet. These MLAs were alleged to be in touch with the BJP.MLA from Basavakalyan Narayan Rao is reportedly on his way.Congress MLA Umesh Jadhav has missed the party’s legislature meet and in a letter addressed to party chief Siddaramaiah, he has said that “he is unwell and won’t be able to travel”.Addressing a press meet, Congress leader Siddaramaiah has asked the MLAs who skipped the Congress Legislature Meet to explain their absence.Addressing the press meet, Siddaramaiah has announced that his party will move MLAs to a resort to discuss Lok Sabha polls.The Congress chief said,"The BJP has been making failed attempts. They are working against the democracy. They neither believe in democracy nor Constitution. BSY says they went to Delhi to discuss Lok Sabha polls, let me ask him what they have been doing at Gurugram with all their MLAs.""Everyone including central leadership like Amit Shah are involved in this. They want to bring this government by hook or crook because Karnataka is the only state they are in power in the south. They won't win a single seat anywhere else," he said in a press meet.Briefly after the press meet by Siddaramaiah, a bus was spotted arriving at Vidhan Soudha to take Congress legislators to Eagleton resort in the outskirts of Bengaluru.Talking to ANI about his party’s MLAs, Kumaraswamy said, “Nothing will happen, they will also come and join us. I am regularly in touch with them.